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Busted: Alleged Lizard Squad Hacker Arrested

Credit: Ammit Jack/Shutterstock

(Image credit: Ammit Jack/Shutterstock)

UPDATED 1/2/2015: A second alleged Lizard Squad member was reportedly arrested Dec. 31.

One of the guys allegedly responsible for keeping you from playing video games on Christmas Day 2014 has been arrested.

On Monday (Dec. 29), English police arrested Vinnie Omari, 22, alleged member of the hacking group known as Lizard Squad, while raiding his London-area home, the Daily Dot reports. Lizard Squad has claimed responsibility for the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that knocked Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network offline on Dec. 25. 

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Omari's arrest followed a raid on his home by the police. A press release from the Thames Valley Police Department, apparently concerning Omari, says that he was arrested "on suspicion of fraud by false representation and Computer Misuse Act offences [sic]." Omari was released from jail on Tuesday, and thus far no charges have been filed.

“They took everything... Xbox One, phones, laptops, computer USBs, etc.," Omari said in an email to the Daily Dot, who broke the story. Omari also included a picture of the search warrant.

Lizard Squad has risen to notoriety in the past few months by claiming responsibility for some high-profile DDoS attacks against gaming networks. On Christmas Day, the group only stopped its attacks on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network after MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom gave the group 3,000 vouchers for his uploading service.  

After that, Lizard Squad claimed the Christmas attacks were just a "commercial" for a do-it-yourself DDoS tool called Lizard Stresser, which the group was developing and offering for sale on the online black market.

On Dec. 27, Omari was interviewed by British news channel Sky News, where he was cited as a "computer security analyst" and talked about Lizard Squad's activities. Two days later, independent security reporter Brian Krebs claimed in a report posted to his blog that Omari was a member of Lizard Squad. In the same post, Krebs also claimed that the Lizard Squad member who sometimes uses the online pseudonym "Ry|an" was a Finnish teenager named Julius Kivimäki. 

It seems the Federal Bureau of Investigation agrees with him: the FBI is also reportedly investigating a Lizard Squad member named "ryanc" or Ryan, whom they believe to be a Finnish teenager, as the Daily Dot reported on Dec. 28th. "Ryan" recently appeared on Sky News, openly claiming that he was a member of Lizard Squad.

"Both of these individuals [Omari and Kivimäki] may in fact be guilty of nothing more than taking credit for other peoples’ crimes. But I hope it’s clear to the media that the Lizard Squad is not some sophisticated hacker group," Krebs wrote in his blog post, dated the same day as Omari's arrest.

Today, as news of Omari's arrest broke, Krebs seems to have had a laugh on Twitter, as he tweeted the photo of the search warrant with the words "Poor Vinnie ...#skidfail."

UPDATE: The FBI is has also caught up to "Ryan," though sources differ on whether "Ryan" was arrested or merely questioned. Lizard Squad wrote on its Twitter account at 6:13 pm EST on December 31 that "Ryan was arrested for being caught with his massive amount of laundered carder money while he was hopping countries."

Finnish news site Yle says he was questioned and then released by the FBI and Finland's National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). The Washington Post, by contrast, says that "Ryan" was arrested, and says it got confirmation on this from Lizard Squad itself.

Jill Scharr is a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she regularly covers security, 3D printing and video games. You can follow Jill on Twitter @JillScharr and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.